Schelde River, (also Scheldt, ; French:Escaut), a river in northwestern Europe. From its source in France it flows generally northeastward across Belgium to the Netherlands. There it empties into the North Sea through a wide estuary, called the Wester Schelde. Tributaries include the Leie, Dender, and Rupel rivers. The Schelde is about 270 miles (435 km) long and is navigable by barge for most of its length. Oceangoing vessels travel as far as Antwerp. Ghent is the only other important city on the river. Numerous canals, including the Albert, Ghent, and Schelde-Maas canals, link the Schelde to major cities and industrial areas and to other waterways in the area.